George Avakian on revolutionizing the LP
NOW, A JAZZ MOMENT...
Long Gone (Armstrong/Handy)
CD: Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy
Originally released Sony Records
IN THE LATE 1940S, ENGINEERS AT COLUMBIA RECORDS PITCHED AN IDEA TO NEA JAZZ MASTER GEORGE AVAKIAN THAT CHANGED THE FACE OF THE RECORDING INDUSTRY FOREVER. THEY TOLD HIM...
George Avakian: We think that we can develop a process whereby we can record an entire album on 2 sides of a disc, 33 rpm. I thought this was such a great idea because I could record jazz at length, which was really the right way to do it.
AVAKIAN EMBRACED THE NEW LP FORMAT AND, LEADING BY EXAMPLE, BECAME INSTRUMENTAL IN SHIFTING THE FOCUS OF RECORD COMPANIES AWAY FROM "HIT SINGLES".
Those records cost 98¢ and the profit was relatively small. Whereas the long-playing record at $3.98 represented more profit and you got a 4 to 1 ratio of income coming in from the sale of the albums. This was a wonderful feeling to realize that what I had started at a very small scale had blossomed into the most important part of the record business.
MUSIC:up and fades
GEORGE AVAKIAN HELPED ESTABLISH THE LP AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT INNOVATIONS OF THE RECORD INDUSTRY DURING THE 20TH CENTURY. THIS JAZZ MOMENT WAS CREATED BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.